Words from Christine…
I enjoy responding to magazine and radio inquiries on dating topics. It gives me an opportunity to pull my thoughts together on specific relationship questions, and even better, to research a bit and learn new things.
My most recent response was to an inquiry about misinterpreting conversation signals in dating and relationships. As a coach, I see this a lot! And often, it’s caused by how differently men and women communicate. Here are some thoughts for you:
- Women generally stop talking to someone because they’re mad at them. Therefore, a woman may believe that when a man isn’t talking he must be mad.
- Men generally talk when they have something to say. Such as sharing the news, describing an accomplishment, or asking for a solution to a problem. If none of this is happening right now, he may not feel the need to talk.
- Women are always thinking. And a man can truly think about nothing (he can turn off his brain to let him relax and recharge). So, a woman may be thinking about 12 things at once. And when she asks a man what he’s thinking, she may not believe him when he says “nothing”.
- One of the main reasons women talk is to feel better (and this isn’t one of the reasons men talk). So, when a man hears the woman describing a problem, he’ll often offer a solution right away. Guess what happens then? (You may have already figured this out.) The woman can end up even more upset. At this point, what she really needs is just a listening ear (and women, it’s good to let the man know this and to also thank him for listening when you’re done).
- A man reaps huge benefits if, when the woman is talking about a problem, he responds with, “tell me more about that”. When I give this advice to men, it usually makes their head hurt because it wouldn’t work for them. These same men almost always tell me later (in an amazed voice), “it worked, she didn’t get mad at me and she felt better!”
- Men generally say what they mean. Women – when a man tells you something about himself, believe it! Women clients often tell me what they think he really meant, and they’re usually wrong. Conversely, women tend to speak in innuendoes and subtleties which leave men confused about what they really want. It’s important for a woman to first figure out what she wants and then say it in a way a man will understand. A male client once explained to me that the best way to talk to a man is to treat him like Twitter. No more than 140 characters at a time.
I’ll close with two more misconceptions. One is a myth I hear about a lot, which is, if a man cares enough about me he’ll just know what I want and I won’t have to tell him. The reality? He won’t “just know” unless you honestly tell him what you want. The other basic truth I’ll share is – sometimes no one gets to be right! Agree to disagree.